Five reasons why I love TouchWiz over stock Android

by: Brad WardMay 30, 2013

samsung galaxy s4 vs galaxy s3 s4 touchwiz aa

TouchWiz does a lot of things better than stock Android. Sure, some don’t like the bloatware that comes with it, but it’s an easy trade-off for the value that Samsung’s offering adds to your smartphone. Stock Android is nice, but it feels like a bare bones Android skin. The camera features aren’t the best, and stock Android doesn’t really try to offer handy features like Smart Pause or Multi Window. That said, here are the five reasons why I love TouchWiz over stock Android.

1. Applications

I’m probably going to make a lot of enemies for this, but I actually like a lot of the preloaded applications included on devices running TouchWiz. However, I don’t agree with the fact that they can’t be uninstalled and they have to sit there permanently taking up valuable space.

Depending on how you use your device, apps like Polaris Office 4.0, Allshare Play, and S Note can be very useful. S Note is a very well built note-taking application, Polaris Office 4.0 is an awesome office application, and Allshare Play lets you stream content across multiple devices. There’s an app for everything I could possibly need during the day.


The best part is that all these apps are supported by Samsung itself, which means there’s no need to worry about an independent developer dropping support for a certain app that’s still full of bugs and may or may not work.

One of the big things with stock Android is that it runs buttery smooth due to the lack of attached software. On the flip side, Samsung is making TouchWiz a “life companion,” which means there’s going to be a lot of software built-in that I may need during the day. It all boils down to your own opinion, but I’d say Samsung’s offering is a good tradeoff.

2. Camera functionality

One of the big advantages in a smartphone for me is the camera functionality. Unfortunately vanilla Android doesn’t offer as many camera functions as a device running TouchWiz. Stock Android has a number of camera features, but not nearly as many as there are in Samsung’s own UI.

Not everyone is going to utilize all of the camera features in TouchWiz, but some of them make taking a photo much easier and more enjoyable – Best Shot or Eraser are such examples. You know how it goes. There’s always that one person that frowns right when you take the photo or someone that photobombs your shot.

samsung galaxy s4 camera eraser aa

Eraser is an amazingly good feature, especially if you’re out touring and want to take a series of photos of the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower. Being able to remove moving objects straight from your smartphone makes for an easy job on the photographer and an overall pleasant photo.

3. Smart software

TouchWiz is packed with awesome features that you just won’t find on stock Android. As gimmicky as it may sound, the Smart software integrated in TouchWiz provide a more seamless Android experience. It makes the device you’re using more fluid, more easy to use.

samsung galaxy s4 smart pause aa

One of the Smart features that I’m particularly fond of is Smart Stay, which also happens to be an awesome battery saver. Smart Stay will keep your screen on as long as you’re looking at. It’ll turn it off when you’re not. Believe it or not, in the long run that saves a lot of battery life, especially if you max out your screen brightness levels.

Smart Pause? Why doesn’t every OEM integrate this into their skins? If there’s something that needs your immediate attention and you have a video playing, you don’t have to even look at your phone. Simply set the phone down and when it detects that you’re not looking at it, it’ll pause the video.

You could say that’s being lazy, but if you have kids who like to get into everything, you can give the situation your immediate attention without worrying about losing your spot in the video. I don’t understand why stock Android just doesn’t have things like this. It makes it feel like a bare bones Android skin, and maybe it was meant to be that way so manufacturers had something to build off of, so to speak.

4. S Pen integration

The S Pen software integrated into TouchWiz makes it the best thing since sliced bread. Not only that, but it makes whatever device you’re using great for business, school, etc. Like I said before, Samsung is turning TouchWiz into a “life companion,” which is great. It just makes your device all the more useful.


Other useful features are Air View and Air Gesture. Air View originally showed up on the Galaxy Note 2, which required an S Pen. Now you can hover your finger over messages and emails to read them without an S Pen. On the other hand, Air Gesture will let you navigate by waving your hand. You can even answer phone calls by performing that gesture.

I’ll admit, at first it sounds gimmicky, but if you’re at pool or if your hands are soaked in barbeque sauce from dinner, these features can be very useful, especially if it’s an important message or phone call.

5. Multi Window

Multi Window has a lot of uses, but it’s also very limited. There aren’t a whole lot of apps that have Multi Window support, which means you’re very limited as to what you can do. However, there’s still a few things available to the user that make this feature extremely useful.


For instance, if you’re watching a lecture on YouTube or through the video player, you can throw S Note on the bottom of the screen and easily take notes. Better yet, you could be out on vacation and want to go out to dinner, but you don’t want to stray too far from the hotel. Just throw up your browser as the top window and Google Maps as the bottom window, and you can easily find a good nearby restaurant with directions without having to navigate your phone a whole lot.

Here’s a video that explains some of the features available in the latest version of TouchWiz.

Wrap up

Let’s keep in mind that TouchWiz isn’t the perfect Android skin. In fact, there isn’t a perfect Android UI out there. Stock Android isn’t even perfect. However, I feel stock Android could offer a lot more features to users that would make their overall Android experience even better.

That said, I don’t dislike stock vanilla Android either. It’s nice, but for the reasons listed above, I prefer TouchWiz. What do you prefer? TouchWiz, Motoblur, Sense, MIUI, or something else?

  • Piyush

    Reasons i hate touchwiz :

    1) Makes device laggy

    2) Takes unused space

    3) Damn ugly

    4) Lack of update

    5) Degrades battery

    • MasterMuffin

      1) not true (maybe with s4)
      2) yep :/
      3) some think it looks a lot better than stock.
      4) better updates than for sense devices at least
      5) only if you use every smart function possible, you don’t

      • Piyush

        i have only heard from people, they choose samsung s4 because of sd card and battery replacement over htc one , no one even bothered to say one feature about touchwiz, though i like multiwindow feature, its cool feature but thats it , and yes i still find touchwiz ugly a is safe because android can be customised a lot.

        • MasterMuffin

          When Toucwiz 5 came with s3, everyone was saying how beautiful and fresh it looked (with lots of new features). Now the effect of something new has gone and when s4 didn’t update TW’s outer appearance, people were like “meh” which I understand. Then HTC came with new Sense 5 that is a lot better looking than Sense 4 and now TW needs a new look to compete. It’s still not ugly though

          • Bjajjull

            Just look at the settings menu in new TW, awful.

          • MasterMuffin

            That I must admit, horrible D:

          • the settings in Tw are the best i love their organization .I dont do around 1 milion years to find anything like in cm10 or the stock in my optimus 2x ( which the theme sucks big time )

        • rjr162

          I’ve ran a few AOSP ROMs on my S3, and honestly I’m ready to go back to the TouchWiz. Too many bugs/issues, and honestly I miss the extra features the TouchWiz supplied (such as just swipe my hand across the screen for a screenshot.. I used that more than I realized (until I put the 3rd party ROM on and counted how many times I tried to take a screen shot via swiping).

          As for lagging.. CM 10.1 I’d have to say is just as bad or worse than the TouchWiz, and battery life on CM 10.1 is also degraded for me

          • Piyush

            i am talking about out of box experience. and about using custom rom for minimizing lag is not good option if the fault is in the skin , they should fix it not us .

      • UfknTard

        1. Is true
        2. Too much space filled with gimmicky eye candy that no one will use.
        3. Only the seeing impaired
        4. Sense devices receive updates way before and more often that Samsung devices. HTC has a much better phone.
        5. You have to turn off ALLL the functions to save battery life. There goes all your gimmicky eye candy.
        6. UGLY as hell exterior.
        7. The horrible lag touch wiz produces on such a power device is worth mentioning again.

        • MasterMuffin

          What I said was true a year ago WHEN THE COMMENT WAS MADE. Why do people even read these old articles anymore?

    • Johannes

      I totally agree with you!
      When there is a (now) beautifull custom UI, it’s Sense 5.0

      While Samsung adds hundreds of featuers to there UI, they don’t manage to include things the user wants so badly.

      • Raymond Marx

        Like settings and sorts and docks

    • Software is a fickle thing – everyone has different experiences with it. :)

    • pjk

      1) not really. Try using a launcher. Nova prime does a pretty job
      2) Yea, imagine S Health almost 50mb
      3) Like #1, Nova launcher has tons of customization to your taste
      4) True some, Samsung rarely cares about older phones.
      5) Its a personal issue. How ur apps run, and stuff.

      I tried AOSP/Nexus roms, and It didnt take long then I switched back to Touchwiz. Im missing Multiwindow, Camera, Keyboard, smart stay, motion gestures. :)

  • terminator

    But at least we should be allowed to delete bloatware we don’t want!

    • matteoriso

      Root it and use specific applications to do that ;)

      • terminator

        Not everyone can root phones. And why should people have to root their phones in the first place and void their warranties?

        • MasterMuffin

          Only in USA, in Europe you don’t void your warranty unless you brake it because of riitin

          • Stefan A

            Yes you do. In Denmark you void your warranty if you root your phone..

          • MasterMuffin
          • Ugo Marceau

            France as well. That’s why I hesitated for a long time before rooting my S2.
            Ended up sending it to servicing with a bullshit excuse just before rooting it.

            The changed my USB port and sent it back :D

          • MasterMuffin

            Please read my reply to “Stefan A”

        • Lex_407

          If people are able to root their phone, they are able to un-root their device without the company knowing about it. I’ve done it plenty of times. Just go back to stock rom. Easy.

          • terminator

            Easy for you. Not so for others. It’s this kind of need that makes one leave iOS in the first place, jailbreaking or whatever sweet name it’s given.

          • Lex_407

            I don’t know. Rooting your device now of days has gotten really easy. Just as easy as jailbreaking an iOS device, especially if you have a Samsung device. I literally downloaded one file for my S4, plugged it in to my PC and click root. That’s how easy it is to root.

          • terminator

            What file did you download, and from what website? I have a GN2

        • matteoriso

          An EU directive has clarified that rooting phones doesn’t void warranty. So, if you are in the EU and you own a Samsung device, rooting is just around the corner ;)

        • SeraZR™

          lol ur missin out of some serious fun there -.-

        • tendoboy1984

          Exactly. Why should you have to hack your device just to enable basic functions like app storage on an SD card or removing bloatware you don’t want?

      • Hardly a solution for the everyday user.

      • simpleas

        why? samsung has better apps

    • freedomspopular

      It’s not Samsung’s fault that you can’t delete system apps.

      • Raymond Marx

        Actually it is

      • It sorta is. Apps are installed on the /system partition, which you don’t have access to unless you root.

    • RJ

      You should be able to disable the apps from the application settings menu. Even if it’s not rooted.

      • porter86

        Yeh because that frees up space.

  • harrold

    TouchWiz, Stock or Sense

    Its still Android

    • Android is all about diversity. :)

    • Daniel DS

      And guess what, they all run on mobile phones! Amazing isn’t it? /s

  • Bone

    The TouchWiz criticism is overblown by a purist few who like maximum control and performance. They are not in the wrong, but 9 out of 10 still prefer apps and versatile functions preinstalled, and don’t give a purple damn about occasional lag. Plus ironically TouchWiz manages to be the lightest on battery life, just see some of the rival UIs battery performance, incl. the skinny naked Nexus 4. That being said, as long as there’s room for improvement, your 1/10 voice comes appreciated.

    • mobilemann

      the only thing it brings to the table is multiview. Battery optimization isn’t that much better, as someone who runs cm10.1 and other touchwiz rom’s on the regular, the n4 battery is just a joke.

      however; the performance gap (at least perceived, via both lag, and touch input lag) is insane between cm10.1 and any 4.1 TW rom (including stock)

    • Mikey Ynwa Heath

      Don’t care about lag. Try saying that to an iPhone user.

    • Terrence McLain

      I agree. Touchwiz basically rules.

  • Marko Man

    which of these are touchwiz features lol ? none ? sound to me more like rom features.

  • Sephsekla

    I wouldn’t mind the gimmicks as much if Samsung would:

    a) update android promptly
    b) stop destroying android’s holo design aesthetic with their ugly as hell interface.

    • It’s not just Samsung’s fault for the slow updates. Carriers make the wait even worse, especially Verizon.

      • Sephsekla

        Personally I don’t see why the carriers should have anything to do with the updates. After waiting for ICS on my galaxy s2 for a long time, I got an unlocked Nexus 4. Updates for that don’t go through the carrier but the world hasn’t ended yet.

    • Gerry

      Amen to that. I just “upgraded” from a first gen Nexus to a Note 3. The Note’s dialer is so ugly I can barely stand to look at it. I liked the S-Pen and pressure sensitivity of the Note but am definitely suffering buyer’s remorse knowing I can’t escape this hideous interface without rooting. I miss my old Nexus a lot. Samsung really needs to hire better designers. It’s embarrassing.

  • Ruben

    Samsung should give people with samsung devices some sort of key so they can acces the preloaded (which won’t be preloaded) apps and then you can choose which ones you’d like to download… I hate all the bloatware Sony and ASUS are doing a great job by giving some quality apps and don’t preload facebook, twitter, flipboard etc.

  • milksop held

    Hahahah, good joke

  • satsmine2k4

    and a million to hate touchwiz…

  • Lil bit

    April 1st today? Your S-planner must be defective, it’s May 30 already.

  • Stephen Butler

    I’m a note2 user since its launch, this is my first TW phone, I’ve always had Cm on my devices since the G1, but because of the pen stuff I haven’t rom’d my note2.

    It is true, when moving from sense in the past to stock, there is always something I missed, but could easily replace by an app, and that is the way I think it should be.

    An os should be a simple, secure, lightweight bridge with hooks between the hardware and the software. Oem’s should concentrate on them key features and let the community offer the software.

    So skins may offer more, a one size doesn’t quite fit all, but for a geek I want a tailor made experience.

  • RedSun

    I like TouchWiz over stock android. I got S3 and Nexus 7. I miss Smart Stay on Nexus 7. While reading I have to press power button multiple times to complete page where as on my S3, TouchWiz does it for me. Multiple window is one of the best feature which I miss a lot on larger screen. Some time I don’t want switch apps I want them to run on same screen and it is done with TouchWiz but not on stock android. I would prefer TouchWiz over stock android anytime just beacuse of these features. Camera software is more advance than stock version.

    • Aaron

      Smart stay can be achieved on other devices by a number of applications. Smart Stay+, SmartStay EX and GMD Smart Rotate are a few that have come up in recent memory.

      • RedSun

        You could achieve by installing other apps but Samsung introduced it and I think Samsung does better job With TouchWiz than third party app.

    • rajnaimesh007
      • redsun15

        Good for you, I’m happy with my TouchWiz. I choose Android because of customization and freedom of choices otherwise I would have stick with iOS devices.

    • mike

      I agree with you.. what is funny to me is that those who don’t below… talk about rooting their phone or getting third party apps to get what touchwiz does without that hassle… so all the haters below.. Think about that… you hate touchwiz yet you look for apps by third parties and root your device to get touchwiz features… your argument of stock being superior really doesn’t make much sense with those comments…

      • Mikey Ynwa Heath

        Its called bloatware as it runs in the background and uses ram. The more ram you use the slower the phone. We root our phone to install custom ROMs to improve performance and battery consumption, also as Touchwiz is uguly and AOSP is beatifull android 5

  • SeraZR™

    Who wants a de-bloated version of Touchwhiz!!??

    • Anonymousfella

      Would it still be Touch-wiz then? without all the smart and s features?

  • Raymond Marx

    Short of an office app that both the S 2 & 3 didn’t include, the rest of the bloatware included by AT&T and Samsung on these phones is useless to the vast majority of us and should be allowed to be removed. The extra camera features that’s included are welcome except the sounds. Beyond that, the rest of touch-wiz is okay though the ability to add more items to the dock and rearrange the ones there would be a much welcome addition to ALL phones. It’s also why I use Apex and Nova launchers on my devices, even Touch-Wiz devices. Airview and Airgesture are niceties to have but nuances when you don’t need them. The worst part of an app made by a hardware manufacturer, is that you’re only going to get an update if you buy the latest hardware, if even then!

  • simpleas

    This is what i’ve been saying the whole time… smh

  • RJ

    I agree with you completely. I love the Samsung apps and features like smart stay, S note and pen, kies air, pop up window and of course multi window.

    Things that other phone’s users will never understand.

  • Garfield DC

    I like a lot of the features that Samsung adds to their phones. That’s one of the reasons I ditched my iPhone and switched to the Galaxy Note II. But I don’t understand why they have to make the interface so damn ugly. That is the only thing that puts me off and I the reason why I use Nova Launcher.

    • Jerwen Jay Ogma, RN

      I haven’t tried TouchWiz yet since I use iPhone from 4-5. I’m upgrading and thinking what to purchase but user interface is at the top of my considerations when buying a smartphone. I’ve done my research and I prefer Sense 5 over TouchWiz however, I like all the smart features that Samsung has. So can I still use Samsung smart features like smart pause, muti window etc even if I’ll switch to others launchers, say Nova?

      • Garfield DC

        Not all features work with custom launchers. Some features only work with the default TouchWiz launcher.

  • Jay

    Came to the comments to read the over-reacting ‘stock’ fan-boys comments, but most of these comments are pro TW! What’s going on here?!

  • i respectfully do not agree.. and hate this custom funcions samsung make.. only the camera are really coolgood

  • nishantsirohi123

    Polaris office is amazing, I use it every day.
    I am worried that switching to nexus means no polaris office

  • porter86

    How much did Samsung pay you to write that then?!

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    I fing TouchWiz useful enough to accept any perceived heaviness. I’ve had “pure” android nexus phone before, and missed some of the functionality and features of a manufacturer baked UI. For those touting the virtues of vanilla, read some of the postings about a “Senseless” HTC One. They are largely concerned with the loss of features that are….Sense 5. I’m not saying vanilla android is bad, or irrelevant in any way, just that for me, and I suspect about 90% of typical users, the applied UI is an enhancing experience and a selling point for a given phone.

  • rvichar

    The S4 is supposed to be a beast but compared to the Nexus 4 it lags. I would avoid installing the software update onto the Note II / S3 when it eventually comes (sometime in 2015) because it will make a great device perform rather sluggishly if it already lags on the S4. Stick to what works and performs best with good clean and efficient code. Google S4 not Touchwiz S4.

  • I agree that touch wiz is ugly. I prefer vanilla android or sense 5.

  • Grman Rodriguez

    Everything but #3 is true, all those “smart” features are gimmick, very situational and not practical (yes, I’ve used them) but the rest is true and that’s why I like Touchwiz

  • Ed Reed

    great article –

  • nishantsirohi123

    i used to hate the old touchwiz on my Galaxy R

    but the nature UX on my note2 is amazing

  • cebukitty

    I just use the nova launcher instead of touchwiz and enjoyed an immediate speed boost. Didnt need to root my phone or install additional firmware or reset my phone

  • Kay1

    I’ve rooted my s3 (International) and tried out a number of roms (my favourite being CM10.1 nightly). Nice as these other roms are, I find myself always returning to stock JB cause of the ease of using it and the feeling of completeness you get with stock. But a HATE the look of stock. The black background with white text is my primary beef. I know this arrangement saves a little bit of battery life but I can’t stand it anymore, it simply looks too unnatural. Is there a way I can flip the colors around (black text on white background, the way nature intended, and not the crappy negative color option). If yes, can you show me how or send me a link to some website that can?

    • satousa

      There are roms based on TouchWiz w. Samsung featrues. It’s especially important for me as a Note 2 (GT-N7100) user. S-pen functionality :]

  • Dan

    Quicksettings too.

  • Ahmed Amr Al Wakeel

    Yeaaaah!!! I thought I am the only one who loves Touchwiz….. for me Multi-window is a winner….

  • rajnaimesh007
  • jack black

    The music apps the only thing stopping me from switching to aosp

  • Matias

    Reason 6: You don’t have taste

  • rocky

    But at least stock android gives you fast updates that’s something that Samsung will never do

  • tendoboy1984

    Motoblur doesn’t really exist anymore. Ever since Motorola was bought by Google, they’ve adopted a more Nexus approach to using stock Android (see the Moto X).

    My girlfriend has a Galaxy S4, and I’m buying a Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 soon. My only complaint is I wish the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 came with 16GB storage, because 8GB isn’t really enough for anything, and you can’t natively store apps on SD cards.

  • AdamUSA

    I flashed an “odexed” TouchWiz rom great battery life and I can remove ANY pre-installed software. ( the person who worked on this rom did a GREAT job

  • Plazmic Flame

    Stock SMS app is s***, that alone ruins everything.

  • THatch

    I love touchwiz. That said i love android. I also like anything that isn’t iOS. Touchwiz is a little on the heavy side but the features it brings are worth it. Besides, you can just put on a launcher. I like useing a launcher to do simple things like gain more space on my home page by making the page indicater smaller. Also you can get rid of that huge touchwiz clack widget. Simply put anything android is great. launchers can mimic windows phone or iOS or even make it your own. Without launchers it falls right in the middle with widgets (similar to windows) and apps (similar to iOS) but with more customization. You simply can’t go wrong with android.

  • westwoodwizard

    I was always insistent that I would not buy Samsung or any of these phones that skin Android. I was given a phone from the Galaxy family and actually liked Touch Wiz. I was surprised and now understand why Samsung did what it did. To compete with the iPhone, it wanted to make Android more user friendly for the masses and it worked. There are plenty of non-techie Android users and most of them seem to be using a phone from the Galaxy family. Again, I was always in the camp of stock Android but now have changed my mind and realize there is room for Android skins.


    Buy samsung you got touch wiz.. Buy htc you got sense and so on.. So quit bitching about it “i hate touch wiz, i hate sense i hate bla bla bla” wtf man world is unfair, just suck it up..

  • Ahmad

    I become confused after reading this. I want a better performance and latest updates offered by stock Android, at the same time can’t imagine my phone without those useful functions available in the TouchWiz…… What should I do.

    • Nick

      Stock Android doesn’t mean better performance. Where did you get that idea? This isn’t the 2010s

  • Abbie

    Holy cow. How much did Samsung pay for this?

  • Mikey Ynwa Heath

    Touchwiz is uguly and comes with features we don’t want. Why ram these features down our throat. Samsung is the only OEM that completely changes the whole look of the ROM. They should he like Sony, LG or Motorola and keep the look of AOSP. Samsung have no idea about beautiful software but they do have some good features. Shealth and camera app, that’s it. All the S bloat is crap, Google does a better version so why make a version that’s worse and ram it down our throats.

    First thing I’ve done with my s5 g901f is install cyanogenmod 12.1, now that’s a ROM.

    Antutu score Touchwiz 5.02, 52,105
    Antutu score AOSP CM 12.1, 56,550

  • jim

    i have samsung galaxy s4 i9505. i installed many roms aosp and touchwiz and tested for a few days. finally i am with a custom touchwiz rom (omega kitkat) and i believe i will stay here. the main reason for not choosing aosp roms is camera fuctionality. i also tried the google play edition wich is very good rom but have no support with usb otg. the best choise for my phone is touchwiz rom without crapware software.

  • Matthew Hendrickson

    Your website sucks. It auto scrolls to the bottom, I think because of some dumb starbucks ad. Get your shit together.

    • Matthew Hendrickson

      So fucking annoying. Not clicking Android Authority links anymore.

  • CoryRs

    Most of these aren’t even related specifically to touchwiz.